SPN WELCOMES THE HIGH COURT ORDER RESTRAINING INEC FROM DEREGISTERING POLITICAL PARTIES
WE DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE COMPLIANCE BY INEC
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) welcomes the order of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday 17 February 2020 restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from deregistering SPN and 30 other political parties pronounced deregistered by the INEC on February 6, 2020. We thus call on the INEC to respect and comply with the order without further delay.
The ruling which was delivered by Justice Anwuli Chikere is a confirmation of the SPN earlier position that its deregistration, and that of other 73 political parties, was in the first instance undemocratic and represents a desperate move by the INEC to shrink the democratic space. In other words, deregistration of SPN and others is meant to ensure that politics is only accessible to only the rich and big billionaire who are in the position to use their ill-gotten wealth to buy votes, hire thugs and sponsor violence in order to manipulate elections and electoral process to win election and secure elective positions which is the main criterion used by INEC to determine whether or not political parties are viable. According to Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, 58 persons were killed in election related violence. These unavoidable deaths were mostly perpetuated by the dominant political parties.
The SPN acknowledges the concern of many Nigerians, that the long list of names and logo of political parties usually accommodated on the ballot papers during election is responsible for its ridiculous length and can confuse the less educated voters. At the same time, SPN believes that the long length of ballot paper is not enough reason to sacrifice the constitutional and democratic right of Nigerians to freedom association. Indeed the long list of political parties that participate in both the state and national elections itself is partly a reflection of the failure of the ruling elite to ensure that the electoral system in the country is democratic.
Take for instance, a democratic electoral system that guarantees credible local government elections and allows Nigerians of the same ideology and belief to form a political party for an adequate defense and advancement of their peculiar political and economic interest without being subjected to a stringent undemocratic measure like having representatives in 25 states across the federation including a Secretariat at the Federal Capital Territory, could lead to a drastic reduction in number of names and logo of political parties on the ballot paper. This is because most of the political parties will prefer to limit their participation in the electoral process to local level where their impact will be largely felt.
It is in the consideration of this that we, as a minimum, strongly call for amendment of sections in the military written 1999 constitution that border on election and electoral process in order to guarantee a democratic electoral system that encourage mass participation of the people instead of the so called fourth alteration of the 1999 Constitution which empowers the INEC to deregister political parties.
INEC as it is currently constituted is meant to represent and protect the interest of the capitalist ruling elite. This is why a party like SPN with a bold socialist alternative programme to promote the interest of the working masses, youth and which was denied registration despite having fulfilled all constitutional and legal requirements for almost four years until its registration was ordered by the Federal High Court oi November 2017.
Therefore, we call for the reconstitution of INEC as well as all the state electoral bodies to include representatives of political parties, trade unions, credible civil society and professional organisations and pro-labour organisations. We call on the leadership of the trade unions, civil society organisations, IPAC and all deregistered political parties to lend a voice to this demand
Acting National Chairperson